Wednesday, December 26, 2012

See You in 2013!

Christmas Fruit Cake, Plaza Brasserie

By the time this is up, (I hope) I will be catching a wink on China Eastern Airline as we will be touching down in the wee morning. Yes, the girlfriend and I are off to freezing Shanghai this time round! Plenty of awesome bites await as we will be spending a week there (and Hangzhou)!

Hope everyone had a jolly Christmas and see you in 2013!

Taken with Nikon D70
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plaza Brasserie: Feast on Festive Buffet

This is an invited session

December is always a merry month with Christmas mood in the air. Buying presents and spending time with friends and loved ones are essentials, so is having a huge feast. If you have yet to book a place for Christmas/New Year meal, Plaza Brasserie is one place that you might want to look at.

Being the buffet restaurant of PARKROYAL on Beach Road, I have fond memories of this place as I had my first chawanmushi here more than a decade ago (Not sure if it was even Parkroyal back then), after winning buffet vouchers in jigsaw puzzle competitions (yes i was a jigsaw geek). So it was quite a nostalgic feel to be invited for a Christmas tasting session with a whole group of bloggers.

While Roasted Turkey with Stuffing is almost synonymous with Christmas, I have never really fancy the big, tough bird. On the other hand, the house special of Pork Knuckles in Asian-inspired Spicy Sauce and Red Wine Sauce is a different thing altogether, as the crispy skin and tender lean meat deserved encores.

Another live station was the flipping of pratas, served fresh with fillings of your choice (Had mine with cheese!). As for the buffet line that night, the huge Roasted Salmon caught my eye and had me going straight for the belly; fatty goodness but pity to be a tad bland. The press release showed that Baked Alaskan Cod is available on certain nights too.

We also had the noodle counter whipping up Sang Mee (Crispy Noodles with Sauce) in mini portions, while the Chinese roast corner served a variety of roast meats and Hainanese Chicken Rice, which had pretty tasty rice really (Chicken, well, the usual complaint).

Desserts consisted mainly of Christmas favourites such as Fruit Cake and Christmas Pudding, but I personally prefer to head for the cheese counter instead!

A few more shots of what we tried from the buffet line:

Assorted Sushi and Teriyaki Chicken - Run of the mill
Raw Oyster and Sashimi - Decently fresh, but a little limited in variety

Soft Shell Crab - Kept surprisingly crispy in a heated bowl
Spiced Mussels, Thai-styled Beef, Braised Pork and Sea Cucumber - Been there, done that
Smoked Salmon - Not too bad
Cold Sausage - Another been there, done that
Crabmeat with Avocado and Caviar - Lazy me loved the salted crab chunks and creamy avocado combo

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage - Hit the random craving in the right spot, made a little more luxurious with abalone slices
Honey Baked Ham - Of course, its Christmas!

Well let's face it, buffet at Plaza Brasserie wasn't particularly impressive but neither should it be written off completely. With lunch starting at $40++ and dinner starting at $55++ ($60++ and $80++ for lunch and dinner respectively on Christmas/New Year Eve), its more affordable than many of the fancy hotel buffets out there.

Have a Jolly Merry Christmas everyone!

Special thanks to Karen of PARKROYAL Hotels for the invite!

Plaza Brasserie
7500A Beach Road
PARKROYAL on Beach Road
Tel: 6505 5710
Do call to check for prices on the different dates!

Taken with Nikon D70
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

City Space: Toasting in The Skies

It has always been my goal to bring the girlfriend to Equinox Complex, talking about it ever since my first visit four years back. So when I finally started earning my own keep, I secretly made a reservation one weekend night to fulfill this promise. But before heading to the restaurant, we dropped by an hour earlier to enjoy a drink at City Space.

Situated on the 70th storey of Swissotel The Stamford, the very stylish bar makes perfect for pre-dinner drinks as one basks in the evening sun and enjoys the spectacular skyline facing Orchard Road. Do note the $20 surcharge if you want the seats smack in front of the full-length windows, rather unnecessary spending since there was no one blocking my view anyway.

Complimentary Snacks

I haven't been to many bars, but City Space sure served the most generous snacks platter ever. Besides the usual assorted nuts, the cheesy nachos with sour cream dip was definitely a winner, gladly topped up by the friendly staff when they noticed it empty. Very impressive!

Happy Hour: Chocolate Martini ($15.00), Hoegarden ($9.00)

Don't belittle the girlfriend's innocent-looking cocktail, as the strong vodka and rich chocolate balls sure delivered a solid punch down the throat. As for me, a good white beer will do the trick.

Chicken Wings ($26.00)

Craving for some hot munchies, our deep-fried wings were served fresh and crunchy, good enough to be eaten on its own and even better with the accompanying barbecue sauce. Handful of fries for carbo loading too.

Holding the bill for our dinner later, City Space surely impressed with its environment and tidbits standards. I personally prefer to come earlier for the happy hour promotions, but I'm guessing that it would be excellent for post-dinner drinks too. If you are not into club-like environment (you have the New Asia Bar above for that), then this place will certainly meet your expectations for rounds of quality conversations.

City Space
Level 70, Equinox Complex
Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: 6837 3322

Taken with Nikon D70
Thursday, December 06, 2012

Pies & Coffee: Brunch on Wagyu Beef Cheek

If you have been following my Tumblr feeds, you will realize that I have been going to Buona Vista on Sundays. The spanking new The Star Vista (with plenty of interesting new eateries) and its accessibility from Circle Line gave me plenty of reasons to travel to the west. Another will be to have a pie-ish brunch at Pies & Coffee.

Serving Australian-styled pies at The Rochester Mall (just a wide street across from The Star Vista), I have finally found a place bearable to dine alfresco with constant wind blowing in the large open area. There's also a generous number of power plugs indoor, so you can easily spend a long afternoon here with a laptop.

Everything is pretty much self-service here, as you make your purchase at the counter and get a electronic coaster that rumbles when your order is ready.

Iced Cafe Latte ($4.80), Iced Coffee ($4.00)

Iced caffaine for a change! A tad diluted with ice but still perks you up in the (not-so-early) morning.

Every pie order comes with a large chunk of mashed potato and side salad, pretty much a complete meal.

Chicken Cheddar Pie ($8.95), Wagyu Beef Cheek Pie ($9.95)

The girlfriend's choice was rather good at first few bites, but the heaviness of cheese and cream set in after a couple more. Mine, on the other hand, was pretty awesome from start to end with the meat tender and well-marinated. We also liked how the pie crust was thick and buttery, baked just right with the contents still piping hot.

Bill for two was $29.65 after taxes, not too bad considering the brunch prices these days and its unique surroundings. More wagyu beef cheek soon? Very likely!

Pies & Coffee
35 Rochester Drive
#01-02 Rochester Mall
Tel: 6570 0080

Taken with Nikon D70